Jews in Pennsylvania Take Up Arms After Pittsburgh Attack


Cherev Gidon Israeli Tactical Defense Academy, an academy which teaches students how to use firearms among other forms of self-defense, has received unprecedented levels of enrollment and interest from Jews throughout Pennsylvania following the massacre of eleven Jews in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Shabbos.

The status of the enrollment spike was first reported by Reuters, according to whom, hundreds of people have contacted the center since Sunday.

A veteran officer from the IDF who runs the academy, Yonatan Stern said; “The truth is we are at war. We want every Jewish person in the United States to be armed.”

[RELATED – Every Shul Should Have An Armed Person – A Halachic Analysis]

Stern, served int he Netzach Yehuda infantry battalion while he was in the IDF. He is a resident of Kiryat Araba in Israel but has  lived in the United State for more than a decade now. He opened the training academy to help teach American Jews how to use weapons and other forms of self-defense. The academy has been around for six years and is located near Scranton.

“I was involved in a lot of combat instances, a lot of gun battles. I saw a lot of action, a lot of people being shot, people being killed, and that’s something that really motivated me to train others to protect themselves because I really don’t want to see anyone being a victim,” he explained.

“For years we have been telling American Jews that they need to get armed and trained to defend their communities against violent anti-Semitic attacks. Many listened to us, but sadly many others preferred to bury their heads in the sand and ignore our warnings. Today, our predictions came true right here in our own state of Pennsylvania and too many have had to pay the ultimate price. Do not ignore the writing on the wall: Buy a gun, learn how to use it, and carry everywhere you go, especially to Synagogue,” he concluded.

[RELATED – WATCH: Trump: If Pittsburgh Synagogue Had An Armed Guard “They Would Have Been Able To Stop” The Shooter]

[WATCH THIS: Gun Store Owner Offers Rabbis Free Weapons to Protect Synagogues After The Pittsburgh Massacre]


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Dov Hikind calls for ARMED GUARDS in Synagogues and Jewish institutions following the #Pittsburgh massacre

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  1. Why does it take the murder of 11 Jews to get people interested in self-defense?!

    ושמרתם את נפשותכם is a מצות עשה. Better to have the gun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    There’s a saying: “Fix the roof when it’s sunny”.

  2. Totally treiffa hashkafa. Very immature as well. Just a cheap way for the promoters to make a few dollars off of a few gullible lo yutzlachs.

  3. YWN Moderator: Please use a better picture than the one above. It is showing poor firearm form and safety and makes it seem like we don’t know how to handle firearms properly. People like “not getting involved” then see these pictures and think Jews who get licensed to conceal carry are a bunch of gun worshiping cowboys that will randomly pull out guns in shul. Thanks.

  4. Not getting involved, I’d say antisemetism and murder is pretty treiff and immature too, don’t you agree? What about this is considered treiff or immature? Hunting or duck shooting are treiff activities and probably halachically wrong, but how is responsibly regulated self defense for shuls, communities, and yeshivos comparable? I fail to see the connection? Because apparently our teffilos aren’t meriting us enough to be protected from Amalek, we need to do our own hishtadlus.

  5. Yudel- If your in lakewood go to garden state shooting center 1955 swathmore they rent guns teach you how to use it and have amazing training sessions its a beautiful place and safe controlled environment

  6. foolish people… they think they will become the Jewish Rambo all of a sudden? do people understand what kind of training you need to take on an active shooter that is in middle of shooting an assault rifle? will they start davening facing the back door of the shul with their finger on the trigger just in case a terrorist walks in with a gun? how exactly will it help if they had a gun? also i sure hope their gun isn’t laying around in their talis bag that kids can get to… so hopefully it is locked away out of reach of children. which again raises my question, how will this have helped the Pittsburgh massacre?

  7. my2cents, there is so much to unpack in your comment. I invite you to actually research the following topics: indicators of hostile surveillance, situational awareness, concealable holsters with retention, firearm safety with children around, handgun draws, discretion in shooting, utilizing cover, and medical aid for trauma/bleeding victims. Speak to people who actually carry, whether here or in Israel. Ask them all your questions and I believe that you will feel much more comfortable with training people to deter, prevent, and if chas vshalom needed, confront an attacker.

  8. my2cents , RE: “how will this have helped the Pittsburgh massacre?” You will never know until you try, but we unfortunately do know what happened to unarmed Yiden, it dit not helped to prevent the Pittsburgh massacre?

  9. Mr Captain and Mr Golus – you guys are in fantasy land… i have been part of security planning teams that included police chiefs and homeland security experts, for events i have been involved with. do you know the size of the personnel needed to properly secure a location against a potential threat from a terror attack? we are talking snipers, bomb sniffing dogs, racial profiling experts, checkpoints…
    If you are proposing all should should have a “team” of armed security i can hear. but to suggest that some guy in the crowd with a hand gun will be able to take down an active shooter all by himself is ridiculous. take into account that the shooter started as soon as he walked into the building, while your potential gun carrying guy would have probably been inside of the shul davening.
    we are talking about massive amounts of emotions that will be racing thru your gun carrying civilian’s head at the time he hears rapid fire and people screaming and running in all direction. and you are suggesting that your big hero will pull out his little hand gun and jump into the lobby/hallway/back of shul and start a gun battle with the heavily harmed terrorist…

  10. my2cents:
    I normaly don’t comment but I feel that there is a lot of misinformation out there on what is a very serious topic:
    First of all, we are not talking about securing a stadium here. Second of all, can we agree that everyone commenting here that is pro-armed guards, is talking about a shul team consisting of at least 2 people, possibly more if the shul is really big, and obviously the goal is for there to be coverage inside and outside? I’m not going to name shuls here, but go exploring for yourself and see that in these shuls you will be profiled before you enter. The guards know who seems out of place and what is suspicous behavior.

    Everyone is fully aware of the emotions, adrenaline, tunnel vision, shock etc., that will come rushing in when the

  11. *when the person has to react in self-defense. But that can be worked on and mitigated with training. (On a side note, this makes me appreciate police even more for having to deal with this possibility every day.)

    I would like to hear what suggestions you have. Also, I suspect that you have some type of bias in thinking that Jews are rambo wannabes. I have yet to see any Jews like that, but hey, maybe your crowd is different. And working on tabletop exercises and logistics is great experience but no sustitute for learning about the topics I suggested earlier.

    I would like to thank you for getting involved with security though. It’s nice to see that you did take safety into consideration when working on events.

  12. to yudel: To answer your first question, the name of the academy is at the very beginning of the first sentence of the article. If you cannot see that, how are you going to aim a gun?

    I know an IDF veteran who was seriously wounded by friendly fire, i.e., by well-trained Jews with guns. If you think a gun can help in self-defence, you need to commit yourself to learning how to use a gun, and it takes formal training, time, patience, smarts, devotion and more formal training. And the training must be ongoing, so that the trained people’s talents don’t go stale.

  13. my2cents – yashir koach. I’ve been an armed civilian security guard in Israel, and the biggest problem wasn’t training people to shoot straight, but to teach them how to react in an effective way.

    No way am I going to go into a shul with some well-meaning civilian with a gun “providing security.” Assuming that your “good guy with a gun” isn’t taken out first, he runs a very real risk of accidentally shooting bystanders in the heat of the moment.You’ve got to have a trained security guard standing by the door with both eyes open. Once the shooter is inside it’s too late. A handgun against an AR-15? That’s a very, very bad joke.

    And yes there’s an issue of safety in the home – or the shul – where the gun is kept. Children are curious, and get into what anyone would have thought was kid-proof. And they imitate their parents, so when they see Tate shoots the gun they’re going to want to shoot it too, and ch”v hurt themselves or someone else.

    The bottom line is quit the superhero/Rambo fantasizing and cough up the money to hire a real, trained security guard.

  14. I’ve had a carry permit for years and have been around weapons my entire life. I’ve spent thousands of $$ on range time and ammo. I seriously doubt that after a few hours on a static range someone can be adequately trained for an active shooter situation. Consider starting with baby steps. Hire a safety consultant to provide an active shooter plan for the congregation and practice it. Move on from there with securing access to the building etc. Guns aren’t always the solution.

  15. BLAH, BLAH, …Training…BLAH, BLAH… Jewish Rambo…BLAH, BLAH,,, Active Shooter…BLAH, BLAH.
    All of you so called security “experts” sound foolish and arrogant. You have never been in the real life situation where shootings have occurred. All your opinions are based on hypothetical assumptions and speculations. Every situation is different. According to FBI and DOJ statics there at least 1.5 M defensive gun uses in US per year on average. In fact i heard from my friends in Pittsburgh who are familiar with the details of the Tree of Life shooting there were plenty of opportunities to shoot this guy in the back while he was walking calmly across the room shooting innocent victims. I am sure the outcome would be different if somebody had a gun,

  16. Pgh residents: Next firearm (intro to pistol) course at Crowfoot Rod & Gun Club on SUNDAY December 9th! 8am-12noon. Firearm & ammo provided. Do not have to be club member to attend the course.

    Email me for info & application. [email protected]

  17. Captainmitzvos – it seems we agree on the main points – 1) i also never comment on here. 2) taking on an active shooter is not as simple as a civilian mispalel that happens to be carrying a gun 3) if you want security it has to be a designated professional inside and outside that keeps the bad guy out of the location.
    my point and suggestion to those that are nervous was – having a random designated mispalel with a carry permit is not the way to solve anything. (it could actually make things worse) real armed security means the person/team has a plan and is actively securing your location at all entrances.
    midwest2 and amil – thanks for the explanations
    Mr golus – you sound very professional… my opinions are based on real life security consultations with experts in law enforcment. not from just google like it seems you are doing.
    the statistic # for DGU you are quoting is extremely disputed in a huge range of numbers. but regardless of what the number is. it is not talking about taking on a heavily armed active shooter that is already in your building mowing down people! it is more commonly referring to some homeless guy trying to break into someones car and the owner comes running out with a gun drawn to tell him to get lost…
    bottom line all these people running out to buy guns is more likely to get someone hurt than it is to save a terrorist attack.
    If you want security you should shell out money for a real security team.
    ps. i am NOT affiliated with any security firm. and i am not suggesting that everyone should run out and hire one. consult your own rabbinic authority.

  18. MoisheinGolus,

    Re: Blah, blah , blah, blah.
    My sentiments exactly.
    BTW…… There’s less than zero evidence that al pi hahkafa a Jew can’t defend himself.
    Please read Nach.
    As far as golus is concerned, although we believe that our travails come from Hashem , nowhere is it written to allow your own murder except for a few halachic cases..
    Anyway…. Blah, blah, blah….

  19. In EY armed guards are everywhere. As a yeshiva student in a dati l’umi yeshiva we all got trained and took turns doing shmira at night. I don’t know what the black hat institutions did; my guess would be that they were more inclined to trust hashem to provide protection.

    Nobody thought it odd because there was a threat and it was a longstanding practice.

    Well, folks, the threat has arrived in the goldene medina and it will take time to adapt to the new reality, but adapt you will. And armed people will be protecting you.

  20. those on here that are calling supporters of concealed carry inside shul rambo and claiming to have experience in security seem to argue that having a handgun in shul would do nothing against an AR15. That is the most ridiculous and foolish statement. First, off, they all argue that an armed security guard is the answer. Well guess what, that armed security guard would have a handgun, the same type of gun you so easily dismiss. Second, a well trained civilian can stop a mass shooter that has a rifle. The police who storm schools and other buildings often go in with just handguns to confront mass shooters, while the swat team is on their way. police are trained nowadays not to wait for the swat team. I for one strongly support and encourage anyone that can afford to have serious training in conceal carry and how to respond to mass shooters to go out and get trained. Every trained yid with a CCW would increase the chances of reducing the death toll in the next anti-semite or terrorist attack in a shul.